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  • Sara

Nature & Board Games — Nurturing The Connection (Part 2)

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

When we left off from the previous piece, I spoke about my connection with my father through nature and the board games that remind me of the outside world. Today, I think of the creatures that make their home right here in South East Asia. Our biodiversity makes up around 20% of the world’s ecology. What’s more is the number of endemic species that call this region home.

I scuba dive whenever I get the opportunity. Seeing the variety of marine life touches me. Every dive is different — I have seen sharks, turtles, and the odd cuttlefish. Whilst most people shy away from the open ocean, I embrace the treasures that it holds within. No matter how and where I am, my love of the ocean is never-ending.

A turtle resting on a bit of coral
Hawksbill turtle resting on coral.

Having dived in crystal-clear sanctuaries around the country, it is only natural that I speak of the wildlife that inhabit these waters. In attempts to catch sight of the mighty whale shark, the islands off Terengganu make for a spectacular view. I remember going off into the waters of Sipadan, and just being there, in awe of the sea turtles resting upon the coral reefs.

Kingfisher perching on a branch
Look at the resplendent colours of this kingfisher!

In the jungles of the peninsula, I have caught sight of one of the rarest of flowers — the Rafflesia. The unassuming bloom was perched on a root at the edge of the path; imagine the wonder I felt to have been able to see such a sight. Deeper still did I see the lakes and hear the hums of birds and insects alike — nothing could compare to this.

The board games that bring nature into the home excite me. The myriad of Asian-made games of this nature (pun very much intended) are as rich and diverse as their theme.

Dice Fishing: Roll and Catch (2018) by Satoru Nakamura. Image from BoardGameGeek.

One such Asian-made game is Dice Fishing: Roll and Catch (2018). Designed by Satoru Nakamura, this quirky roll and write is about a fishing competition. Roll your way to victory as a seasoned competitive fisher as players decide how many dice to wager to catch fish. The mechanism is simple — you catch fish if you’re able to roll your selected dice to meet the catching requirements.

The art is reminiscent of Tsukiji Market’s vibrant seafood eateries. Within this market in Tokyo, raw fish is caught and prepared on the spot for hungry passersby. Having dined here myself, the experience is incomparable. The freshwater fish expansion gives players more abilities when they capture fish. There’s even a bonus bear with a salmon in its mouth — for extra flavour!

Songbirds (2016) by Yuo. Image from BoardGameGeek.

Songbirds (2016) by Yuo sees players playing as forest spirits guiding their chosen bird to win the most nuts (victory points). In a style similar to Modern Art, players can decide which bird card to play as their final card to score the most points! The art doesn’t fail to disappoint, with adorable illustrations of birds for each of the four colour groups — red, blue, green, white.

In The Forest (2020) by Takeshi Iwata

Last but not least, In The Forest (2020) by Takeshi Iwata bundles together four ways to play the game in a single box. The replayability of these cards make for a light and portable game that can be completed with just two to three players. Themed around forest inhabitants, each game is an experience in itself. You can grab this game from our Shopee!

There are many more games than just these but I hope this gives you a reason to pick up an Asian-made nature themed game. Remember to stay safe, and let the outdoors come to you, much as it has for me.

Author’s Note: Origame is currently developing a nature themed game for children with Forest School Singapore! The game is still in development but we would love to hear your guesses on what this game is about and what you would call it. Send in your ideas via the chat bot on our website.


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